RV Spring Tune-Up

February 28, 2011

by Mark Polk
Mark is a frequent contributing author

inspect refer

It’s that time of year again; time for my annual RV spring preparation checklist. If your RV has been sitting idle all winter you need to whip it back into shape for another camping season.

At first glance this checklist looks like it would take two days to complete, but it’s actually something you can do on a Saturday afternoon when there’s nothing else to do. By following a simple checklist you make sure nothing is overlooked.  This is an excerpt from my “Checklists for RVers” E-book

* Depending on how your unit was winterized it will need to be de-winterized. See Checklist 18.

* Every spring I like to sanitize the water system. Watch the video.

* Inspect for water leaks. With the water system pressurized, either by the water pump or hooked up to city water, inspect the plumbing for any water leaks. Check the operation of the toilet.

* Remove any protective covering that you may have put over LP gas vents or outside vents to keep insects or rodents out. Remove any mousetraps you may have put out. Open all doors and compartments and check for rodent intrusion.

* Wash the unit thoroughly. This is a good time to inspect the roof and body seams, and window sealant for cracking that would allow water to get in. Consult a dealer for sealants compatible with these materials and reseal as required.

* Inspect the operation of the awning and check the awning fabric for any damage. Clean the awning if necessary and let the fabric dry thoroughly before rolling it up.

*  Inspect the tires for signs of dry rot and wear. Inflate all tires to the recommended tire pressure. Check the lug nuts for proper torque.

* Lubricate all hinges and locks with a graphite spray lubricant.

* Inspect and clean the RVs interior.

* Plug in any appliances that you unplugged for storage and replace any dry cell batteries you may have removed. This is a good time to put new batteries in items like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and clocks.

* Test the operation of the carbon monoxide alarm, LP gas leak detector and smoke alarm.

* Check the fire extinguisher. Be sure it is fully charged. If it is a dry powder type turn it upside down and tap on the bottom to help release the powder that settled on the bottom..

* Reset any breakers you may have turned off. If you removed any fuses for storage re-install them.

* Clean or replace air conditioner filters if it wasn’t done prior to storage and remove any covers that were put over air conditioners.

* Open vents and windows and air the unit out.

* If you removed the coach and chassis batteries for storage install them. Whether they were removed or not check the electrolyte levels, clean the terminals and clamps, and check the charge level in all batteries. Recharge batteries as required.

* Check the operation of the electric steps if applicable. Lubricate step mechanism.

* Test the operation of the hydraulic jacks if applicable. Check hydraulic fluid level.

* If you didn’t change the oil and filters in the generator prior to storage this is a good time to do it. Inspect the generator exhaust system for damage prior to starting. Start and run the generator for two hours with at least a half rated load on it. Consult the generators owner manual for load ratings.

* Turn the generator off and plug the unit into shore power. Turn the refrigerator on in the electric mode. Allow sufficient time to cool and check for proper operation.

* Check all 12-volt interior lights and accessories.

* Test the monitor panel for proper operation.

* Check the operation of slide-outs if applicable.

* Check the remaining 120-volt appliances for proper operation.

* Test the Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) for proper operation.

* Turn the refrigerator off, leave the doors open and allow sufficient time for it to get to room temperature so it can be checked in the LP gas mode.

Note: Before using the LP gas system it’s a good idea to have a leak test and gas operating pressure test preformed. A qualified technician with the proper equipment should do these tests.

* Once this is accomplished, turn the LP gas valve on and check the operation of all LP gas appliances. Be sure the water heater is full of water before testing the water heater. If a gas appliance is not operating properly have it inspected by a qualified technician. Insects are attracted to the odorant added to LP gas and build nests that can affect the appliance from operating properly.

* If your unit was in long-term storage and you didn’t change the engine oil and filter prior to storage this would be a good time to do it or schedule to have it done.

* Check all fluid levels in transmission, power steering, engine coolant, engine oil, windshield washer and brakes. Consult vehicle owner’s manual.

* Start the engine and check for proper readings on all gauges. Check for proper operation of dash air conditioner.

* Check the condition of windshield wiper blades and replace if necessary.

* Check the operation of all chassis lights.

* In addition to this if you have a pop-up or travel trailer or fifth wheel the wheel bearings and brakes (if equipped) should be inspected at least once annually. Inspect any canvas for dry rot and tears; inspect all hitch work and coupler for damage. Inspect the breakaway switch and pigtail for proper operation.

This list is not all-inclusive, but it seems to work for me. Now for the fun part, load your clothes, food, and personal belongings, hit the road and have fun exploring this wonderful country we live in.

For more in-depth information on caring for your RV check out our RV Care & maintenance E-book or DVD

If you missed Episode 1 or Episode 2 of the new online RV show titled “Mark’s RV Garage” just click on the link to view now.

Happy Camping,
Mark

Mark Polk is founder of RV Education 101 and RV University
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Should You Trust Your GPS?

February 27, 2011

by Jaimie Hall Bruzenak
as appeared on RV Home Yet?

Has it ever led you astray? Ours has.I came across an article, GPS“Death by GPS,” in RV Daily Report. The article was about Death Valley National Park. People have followed their GPS onto roads they should not have been on, sometimes ending in disastrous results, including death.

For example, one group of people followed the shortest route to Scotty’s Castle from where they were instead of the paved road. According to the search-and-rescue coordinator, “the unit directed them over an unpaved, winding, washboard road toward Saline Valley, where they turned right onto an even rougher four-wheel-drive road and became stuck near a remote abandoned mine site called Lippincott.” In this case, one member of the party was able to hike the 20-25 miles and found a ranger so they were rescued. Other people have had similar experiences that resulted in death if you are not prepared.

The problem is that some roads are on the GPS unit that should not be. They’ve been closed or are in rough condition. When someone requests a route, the unit may come back with a route taking them on one of these dangerous roads. Temperatures in Death Valley in the summer are often more than 120 degrees and in many locations in the park there is no cell service, so getting stuck way out a dirt road could mean possible death.

Park officials have been trying to get these roads removed from the databases of GPS units. They have had success with TomTom. Google Maps was a challenge. Other GPS units may still have these roads in their system.

If you travel in a more remote area like Death Valley, look at where the GPS is taking you. If the route is going off on a dirt road, then, no matter what the GPS says, don’t go unless you have confirmation from an official that that route is safe and recommended. Better to take the longer route than get caught out in the middle of nowhere in trouble.

Search and rescue officials say:

“More reliable [than GPS] are a good map, a compass and, in case of trouble, plenty of water. And for those venturing off-road, they strongly advise carrying personal locator beacons or similar devices that send a signal via satellite, advising others of your location and notifying authorities if you need help.”

Usually people are pretty cautious with their RVs compared to driving around in their tow or towed vehicle. But double checking your route with a map is a good idea when driving an RV. Workers at some RV parks have been known to tell RVers making a reservation, “Don’t follow your GPS.” You could end up at a dead end or headed away from your destination.You can read the original article at ScrippsNews.com.

Use common sense- be safe!

Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

Please add your comment below or email Jamie at calamityjaimie@gmail.com

text reprinted with permission

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Called to Community Worship

February 24, 2011

by Tony Jowers
Tony is an RVchurchesUSA Ambassador

“One of the benefits of RVing is enjoying the beauty of God’s creationworship01 – a leisurely walk in the woods ,hiking on a mountainside, biking along a river or fishing in a favorite lake, among others.  In such moments, captivated by His design, we can easily been drawn to a solitary form of worship and praise God there, alone.

Do we need to worship with and among others? Should there be more in addition to our personal “quiet time” with God?

The author of Hebrews 10:23-25 encourages his readers to come together in community, to worship and encourage one another.

Worshiping together is one of the first things that God instructed us to do.  Until King Solomon built the Temple, the Hebrews had the tabernacle, a “tent of meeting,” which traveled with them during their time in the wilderness.  Sounds familiar to us RVers, doesn’t it?

The book of Proverbs is often called our instruction manual for interaction with our fellow man, while Psalms is our manual for interaction with God.  Psalm 100: 2, 4 gives us good advice on our approach to community worship.

In verse 4 above, “His gates” and “courts” are references to the temple and/or the synagogue, so we are literally commanded to gather in community worship!  Please note the terms used to describe the nature of worship: shout, joy, gladness, joyful songs, thanksgiving and praise, among others; all indicating that worship should be a time when we – whether in community or alone – truly enjoy being with God.  Can you think of anything better?

It’s interesting to observe the model of our Savior as He taught the community in Luke 4:16-17.  The phrase “stood up to read” indicates He preached: an attendant would hand the speaker the proper scroll, the speaker would stand, read, give the scroll back to the attendant, and the speaker would then sit to deliver his message. I have a strong feeling that many preachers today would be in favor of reverting back to this practice!

Obviously, if Jesus traveled to different towns and preached in different synagogues, He expected that people would be there to hear Him.  Now, here we are, traveling from place to place in our RVs, enjoying His creation.  We should follow His example and worship together, whenever possible.

I encourage you to worship in the campground or resort where you’re staying, or in the local community if your campground doesn’t yet offer worship services. You can find on-site churches here on RVchurchesUSA’s database for RVers.

You may already have a personal relationship with Jesus and have been experiencing the joy of worshiping our Lord in community or by personal devotions and “time alone” with Him.  However, I also would like to encourage those who have not yet accepted Christ’s free gift of Salvation.

In John 14:6, Jesus succinctly tells us that there is only one way we can join Him in Heaven with God. That is what Christians call “the steps to Salvation”.

From the human perspective, it’s quite simple: Romans 10:9,13 outlines the 2-step process for the assurance of being with God in Heaven – for eternity!

If you have not accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, I urge you to do so, today. Let me know if you are taking that step for the first time and I – and others – will rejoice with you in your new joy for the Lord!

In the meantime … let’s all answer the call to community worship!

Tony welcomes your comments below

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Help Locate Campground Churches

February 23, 2011

By Duane Careb
President RVchurchesUSA

During these past few years, we at RVchurchesUSA have been engagedidentify in the process of identifying campgrounds across the country (including Alaska) that conduct on-site church services.

Part of our mission is to acknowledge campground owner’s passion to serve Christ known to all RVers via our searchable database- at no cost!

We attempt to personally contact the owners in an effort to verify the existence of services and, when possible, talk to those involved in it’s administration – primarily the speakers. Although time consuming, these interviews have been very encouraging to both the campground owners and our ministry staff, as well.

The best resource for identifying these existing services is YOU!

No doubt, other RVers have told you about campgrounds hosting services or you personally have stayed at a campground that offered them.

Please take a moment and help us identify the campgrounds by simply completing the “Comments” section below. Give us as much information as possible – name, location, website, etc. We’ll do the rest!

You can serve other RVers visiting RVchurchesUSA daily who search our database. Of course, as others share their knowledge, you become the benefactor, as well.  In this way, it’s a win-win scenario for all of us – campground owners, RVers and the Kingdom!

Don’t forget to check out our great articles emphasizing spiritual growth and secular RV-lifestyle as well as our resource page for RVers.

Thanks for your participation.

Blessings!

Peace in Times of Trouble

February 3, 2011

by Dountonia S. Slack as appeared on BellaOnline
a contributing author on RVchurchesUSA

meeting-God

Why does it seem when we decide to live wholly for Christ that trouble comes? There we are practicing the disciplines – praying, studying, worshipping – yet, enemies are rising against you, finances are collapsing, and relationships are broken beyond repair.

Yet in the midst of it all, we are able to find peace and joy in spite of the problems because we are reminded through His word that God has everything under control. What a testimony!

In 1873, Horatio Spafford whose wife and child drowned in a shipwreck wrote: “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.” In other words, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy” (James 1:2). Like Spafford, the one who has this kind of joy recognizes who God is and see His hand in and on the circumstance. As a result, we are able to find peace and comfort in some of the most heart-wrenching situations because we have found safety in Him.

The peace that comes is not the false serenity and deceitful tactics of your enemies; not the house of cards we build with our wealth; nor the troubled relationships that we invest so much faith into. However, we are encouraged to press on because of the reality that our Sovereign Lord “is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1). He takes good care of His children.

Therefore, our automatic response to trouble should be to:

Trust God’s Word
Remember God’s Word
Obey God’s Word
Unleash God’s Word
Believe God’s Word
Live-out God’s Word
Exclaim God’s Word

We do this in order to present an excellent testimony to the world of the Lord Jesus Christ from whom our strength comes so that we will be able to reign victorious in troubled times.

Thus, it is important to note that the biblical promises of peace, strength, and victory in trials are only for Christians. If you are not a Christian, these promises can be yours if you believe and trust Christ as your Lord and Savior. Accept that you are a sinner and unable to save yourself. Believe that our Loving, Merciful God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to die for ALL of your sins (John 3:16). Confess and repent of your sins and turn to Him then He will make you into a new creation. A creation that has a new mind, new heart, new purpose, and new strength that comes only from Christ. He will change your world into a place of possibilities (Philippians 4:13). Including a place where we endure the seemingly unbearable troubles in life with “the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7).

Dountonia is BellaOnline’s Baptist Editor

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